Wednesday, October 4, 2017

WI's rigged, gerrymandered elections have done great damage

Court-ordered redistricting would re-establish on paper some fairness to Wisconsin elections and public life, but how do you get back or repair a decade of punitive one-party Republican rule that rigged the system and took over?

There was close reporting in Wisconsin media Tuesday about how perhaps the state can get to a blueprint for the restoration of Badgerland democracy as the US Supreme Court opened an historic review of Wisconsin's ultra-partisan legislative gerrymander:
Justices focused questions on whether a standard and test exists to determine if a map discriminates against voters on the basis of their party and whether the court should wade into a state-based issue at all. The liberal-leaning justices appeared to accept the test and method, the conservative ones had doubts.
Justice Anthony Kennedy's vote in the case has been seen as a crucial wildcard by legal analysts. He authored the court's most recent majority opinion on partisan gerrymandering in 2004 (in Vieth v. Jubelirer) and at the time said that a more precise, workable standard for partisan maps was needed before the court could weigh in. His questions Tuesday did not suggest he had taken a side on the tests proposed for the Wisconsin map.
National experts weighed in because the case argued Tuesday is a big deal across the country, too:
Argument analysis: Cautious optimism for challengers in Wisconsin redistricting case?
...most of the one-hour argument today was spent on the substance of the case, and in particular on two closely related questions: Should the courts get involved in reviewing partisan-gerrymandering cases at all; and, if so, what standard should they use to review such claims?
As I said earlier, Supreme Court rulings are hard to predict, and even if there is a win against the status quo, how do you undo the resulting years of anti-democratic and flat-out rip-off outcomes? 

One summary of what years of Walker's 'chamber of commerce' governance has wrought, is here, and harm is wide and deep.

Two related points:

*  That there is a chance Wisconsin will be ordered to redraw the legislative districts could explain why big business' GOP legislative servants are rushing to approve even greater cancellation of state clean air and water protections - - a statewide Foxconn-style environmental free fire zone, if you will - - that will bury the public's historic, constitutionally-mandated trust protections for water without the messy and devastatingly-transparent process of amending the state constitution.

(A Foxconn primer is here.)

*  And while an honest redistricting is long overdue, there is an entire generation of Wisconsin voters which came of age after the 2010 elections that knows nothing of state government or democratic processes based on fair elections and publicly-spirited decision-making.

All they know, as do the rest of us, is life in a hardened, punitive, Trump-enabling corporate state that has extended its reach into every geographical and philosophical corner of the state through an uneven playing field and measurable voter suppression, coordinated right-wing fund-raising, rigged redistricting and the limitless pre-determined budgetary and policy legislating which results.

In blatant dictatorships around the world, elections are stolen and resources are grabbed through intimidation and violence.

In Wisconsin, Republican officials used public funds to pair lawyers with digital experts and party hacks who worked secretly in what a three-judge panel called an "all but shameful" way to enable one-party election wins and years of one-party governance.

The takeover in Wisconsin was effective and bloodless, though not painless, as; the minimum hourly wage has been frozen at $7.25 and labeled 'livable,' big ag and cattle-feeding operations were allowed to routinely contaminate nearby wells, major waterway polluters were given 20 more years to stop dumping phosphorous that produces choking, stinking algae growth, teaching, other public service careers and collective bargaining were intentionally wrecked,  blue-collar wages were slammed by 'right-to-work' and other intrusive law-making, K-12 schools took a $1 billion ideological cut in 2011 not yet fully-restored, and poor people have less food aid while heading for degrading drug tests to keep food on their tables.

That's how right-wing, big government has run Wisconsin for itself since the 2011 elections and the scandalous 2012 redistricting that has finally gotten a US Supreme Court review.

But how do you compensate millions of people cheated of their rights and resources while having been taxed for the disenfranchisement and fleecing?

No comments: